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US Slaps Sanctions on Five Iranian Individuals

Sanctions against Iran were reintroduced by the United States in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018. The restrictions target Iran’s economy, energy, financial and transportation sectors, among others.

Washington has imposed sanctions on five Iranian individuals for “denying their countrymen free elections” by vetting scores of candidates in the upcoming parliamentary vote, the US Treasury announced on Thursday.

“The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today took action against five members of Iran’s Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee, which are appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader or his appointees”, The Treasury said. “The Guardian Council, which is responsible for ‘vetting’ candidates, uses this power to disqualify Iranians from competing in elections.” 

The Treasury’s designations target Ahmad Jannati, the Secretary of the Guardian Council, and Mohammad Yazdi, a member of Iran’s Guardian Council who was formerly Iran’s first Judiciary Chief, as well as three additional members of its Elections Supervisory Committee. Jannati and Yazdi are also members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, one of the most important bodies in the Iranian government.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said that the designated officials had denied 7,000 candidates the right to participate in the elections, including around 90 sitting lawmakers.

Sanctions on Iran

After scrapping the nuclear deal, Washington slapped Tehran with a series of sanctions targeting Iranian individuals, companies, the state, and the country’s banking and energy sectors.

In addition to targeting Iran, the US threatened to introduce so-called ‘secondary sanctions’ against countries, companies and individuals doing business with the Islamic Republic, leading to a dramatic decline in Iran’s energy exports, an important source of income for the country’s budget.

Iran has repeatedly condemned the US restrictions, adding that the Iranian economy has found ways to resist sanctions pressure.